Tag Archives: Marketing

Genealogy: A Mobile Career – Part 2

Genealogy: "A Mobile Career" - Part 2

Genealogy: “A Mobile Career” – Part 2

[Editor’s Note:  Professional genealogist Angie Rodesky is owner of ARodesky Genealogy.]

The date is set for the moving company to come and start packing up all of the household goods. I’ve collected all of the records; school, medical, dental and veterinary plus scheduled the appointments to hand over all of the records once I arrive.  Now is the perfect time to set back, take a few deep breaths and relax knowing that I have the family moving list checked.

Genealogy: "A Mobile Career" - Part 2

Now to turn my attention back to my business and see what I can complete before we arrive at our new home. The more you have completed by having everything in the right place before you arrive at your new home will help to make your business relocation much easier.  Trust me when I tell you a  “to-do-list” comes in handy.

Earlier I covered the notification process with my clients about my pending move, obtaining a new mailing address so none of the mail will get lost.  This is the perfect time now to do some research on the “genealogy” market you will be moving to. I understand that you aren’t there yet but don’t let that stop you, there are ways to research the communities interest of genealogy without actually being there.

I found that google was my best friend, again, with this move. This shouldn’t be much of a shock, we use google or other search engines to locate movies, business addresses and even homes for sale why not use it to search genealogy events in our new location.

Look for upcoming genealogy classes or presentations, you might try and look at the local libraries or even on the events page posted in the local newspapers.  We all know that locating the state archives is a plus but don’t forget about your county archives. What about the local historical societies, they are sometimes overlooked but I have found they hold a wealth of untapped information.

Basically think about how you have advertised your business and how your clients searched to find you. Apply that to you the research you’re doing on your pending new business location.

Don’t be afraid to contact some genealogy clubs or groups and share your interest in genealogy and that you will be moving to the area in the near future. In case I didn’t mention it before don’t forget to look outside of the town and county you will be residing in.

Some additional things you might want to pay close attention to while doing this research, look at where other genealogist focus their research. What are the average fees genealogist are charging in this new location. You might find that you will have to adjust your current fees and maybe you have a niche that isn’t focused on in that area.

Genealogy: "A Mobile Career" - Part 2

Remember that while you’re doing this researching you might want to think about pulling out your current business plan. I found that making some notations on that current plan about the upcoming changes was useful; I viewed it as another “to-do-list”.  On you current plan you might be comfortable with your fees but you may notice that some adjustments might need to be made.  It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that some changes will have to be made to your business plan. I’ve always found it useful to revisit my business plan once a year to make any changes.  With a move like this I found that having my business plan close by was a valuable tool in researching my new place of business.

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About Angie Rodesky

About Angie Rodesky

Angela Rodesky began her love of genealogy as a hobby over 13 years ago, during one of her husband’s deployments while they were stationed in Germany.  That hobby then grew into a profession upon their return to the U. S. and blossomed into ARodesky GenealogyShe has twenty-two years, traveling abroad as a military spouse; both stateside and overseas, offering communication, management experience, speaking, and group presentations,  marketing skills, and two years of community relations/marketing at a Kansas hospital. She currently does genealogy research, document retrieval, documentation research and analysis, family and lineage research full time, along with group presentations, public speaking and freelance writing. Please feel free to visit her website at arodeskygenealogy.com, her blog page at sweetteatartlemonsandmemories.blogspot.com and she can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Business of Genealogy – What Should You Charge?

American genealogist, author, and editor Roccie Hill offers advice on setting your "rate" for genealogy services as a business owner.

The Business of Genealogy – What Should You Charge?

[Editor’s Note: Roccie Hill is an American genealogist, author, and editor and owner of Roccie Hill Editorial and Genealogical Services.]

Genealogy as a business requires core commitments from every professional genealogist. A passion for genealogical research is perhaps the most important, and is one that we all possess. But building a successful business depends on more than just that passion. We need to have the ability and time to market ourselves by regular networking. This creative effort that many of us enjoy doing includes pro bono lectures, guest blogging, getting out into the genealogical world and talking to people. Also critical to running a successful business is ensuring that our promises, deadlines, and work are absolutely reliable. I venture to guess that all of us pride ourselves on our reliability and ethics!

Today’s blog topic is entirely different, and is often something that we shy away from. To be successful genealogists, we must figure out what our services are worth, create a consistent and livable fee structure, and grow our businesses while making good on our promises. In short, we are all dedicated to being the best professional genealogists we can be, but the crux of making a living at being a professional genealogist is being able to make a living.

What Will You Charge as a Genealogist?

You acquired good training in genealogical research, set up your office, attended the Jamboree, designed a website, produced and distributed business cards. Now, a potential client emails you and wants to know if you are interested in helping them trace their family. They ask you the critical question, the one that keeps you hovering between success and failure as a businessperson: what will you charge?

Your answer will put you in the black or the red, allow you to advertise for new clients, network for more clients, or keep you toiling at your computer at a grossly under-estimated fee for much longer than you had anticipated. Does anyone offer guidance about how and what to charge?

The answer is a resounding ‘Yes, but…’

Using a Formula

Many formulae exist for determining your estimates and charges. Generally, we genealogists charge by the hour, by the day, by the project, or on a monthly retainer, all of these plus expenses. But which one is best for you? And what hourly rate will keep you in the black but will also keep you as an affordable commodity?

Some reputable sites even venture to estimate that to research a couple pre-1850 will take 8-10 hours, post-1850 will take 5 hours, etc. One thing is certain: these estimates are fallible. Every research project you undertake will depend on the records available, the ease of their accessibility, your knowledge of the era/history/geography, and prior information presented to you by the client.

When establishing your estimate for a potential client, do ensure that you have the above information available. For example, Native American tribe ancestors who desire research estimates have often approached me to uncover their lineage.

Clearly, the paucity of good records for these thousands of individuals will lengthen the time estimates of 5 hours for post-1850 couples to an indeterminate number of hours. Consequently, relying on an institutional estimate in this case would have put me far into the red.

Set an Hourly Rate

First, you must set your hourly rate. This is in reference to you, your experience, your reputation, your training, and your achievements. Generally, genealogists charge between $20 per hour through $140 per hour. At the upper end of the scale are those of us who are credentialed with known experience, and often working within a reputable, larger company. At the lower end of the scale are those of us who are starting out, excited, but with no experience or reputation.

What is Your Work Basis?

Once you have determined your hourly rate, you can decide if you want to commit to working on a half-day or day basis. Often, it is not worth our time to delve into the research before us, unless we are committing to, and our clients have likewise committed to, at least a half-day. If a client examines your hourly rate and engages you for a half-day or day, you might consider taking your hourly rate, multiplying it by the number of hours of your client’s initial commitment, and discounting that rate by a reasonable percentage, so they understand that they are getting something positive in exchange for the larger commitment. I recommend a 10% discount for a full day and a 5% discount for half a day commitment.

Using a Project Basis

In addition, you may wish to quote on a project basis. That is to say, a client desires that you ‘get them into the DAR’ or some request of that ilk. It is highly important for you to parse the request and make it as specific as possible, but if in so doing, you remain with a large project, then by all means offer a project fee estimate. This would normally be 5-10% more than your estimated hourly rate, to accommodate any uncovered mysteries in the research that you might stumble upon. How many hours should you base this on? I recommend taking the minimum number, the maximum number, and an average of the two.

Using a Retainer Basis

Finally, in the best of all possible worlds (on some levels!) you may run into a client who has endless lineage research goals. In this case, the individual may present you with a range of research goals that are multi- generational and multi-national. Try as you might, you may not be able to hone their desires down to quantifiable assignments. In those cases, and with an established trust between you and the client, you may wish to set up a retainer fee basis, where the client pays you a fixed sum for your research and attention every month.

With this method, you are guaranteed income, but you may also jeopardize your independence and/or ability to take on other clients. Also, it is important to ensure your client knows the maximum time you have available for this retainer work, because working on a retainer should not mean that you are at the beck and call of a client 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Clarify and Communicate Your Billing Practices

In all cases, it is important for you to codify the work you are expected to perform and your fees, to ask for a deposit before your begin work, and then to bill against that until the deposit is spent.

The most popular form of billing among professional genealogists is hourly plus expenses. Be very clear about what expenses you expect to be reimbursed for, and the method of getting approval for some of them, or all of them, depending on your client’s comfort zone. Be meticulous about recording each and every business expense, whether or not the client will reimburse you for them.

Often, we get so caught up in the excitement of research, that we forget to write down mileage to the courthouses, postage, photocopying. Business expenses are often reimbursed by the client, and if they are not, they are often deductible at tax time.

After all, you are a professional genealogist now!

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About Roccie Hill

Roccie Hill is an American genealogist, author, and editor. She received her Master of Arts degree in English, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in Philosophy with a minor in History. She worked as a senior executive for non-profits for many years. Fascinated for decades by her own family’s historical stories, she began studying genealogical research, learning from notable genealogists how to write compelling family stories as well as genealogical reports. For many years she has run her business, Roccie Hill Editorial and Genealogical Services, and enjoys diving into new eras and learning about new families.

Roccie Hill is an American genealogist, author, and editor.  She received her Master of Arts degree in English, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in Philosophy with a minor in History.  She worked as a senior executive for non-profits for many years.  Fascinated for decades by her own family’s historical stories, she began studying genealogical research, learning from notable genealogists how to write compelling family stories as well as genealogical reports.  For many years she has run her business, Roccie Hill Editorial and Genealogical Services, and enjoys diving into new eras and learning about new families.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the National Genealogical Society.

To contact her, she can be reached at roccie@rocciehill.com.

Content Marketing Business Strategy Guide at GenBiz Solutions

GenBiz Solutions has a new business strategy guide on Content Marketing along with a special 30% off sale!GenBiz Solutions™ has a new business strategy guide on content marketing available in March 2016. Have you been working on your goals – both personal and business – for 2016? Any of the informative guides at GenBiz Solutions™ can help you achieve those goals. And don’t forget, your purchase may qualify as a business expense and tax deduction for 2016!

Content Marketing

GenBiz Solutions™ author Sharon A. Atkins adds another guide, Content Marketing, to the list of marketing and sales guides she has created.

At its heart, content marketing is storytelling. Similar to how and why genealogy researchers place the facts of an ancestor’s life together in the form of a story, content marketers position facts together in an informative and entertaining story to share. Successful content marketing designed for your target market embraces the concept and the realization that the most important content to produce must meet your current and potential clients’ informational needs. And, it must be created to provide information they seek.

With the Content Marketing strategy guide from GenBiz Solutions™, you’ll understand why content marketing matters and the elements involved in creating and deploying successful content marketing campaigns..

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As a special thank you for the support of the genealogy business community, GenBiz Solutions™ is offering 30% off any business strategy guide, even our two newest guides. To save 30% OFF your entire order! Use coupon code FRUGALGENBIZ at checkout.

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